Codonanthe is a genus containing approximately 8 species found primarily in the montane and lowland forests of southeastern Brazil near the Atlantic Ocean. Codonanthe species are epiphytes with a trailing growth habit. They grow well in hanging baskets. Their ease of culture, small size, and ease of bloom make them easier to grow then other epiphytic gesneriads like Nematanthus, Columnea, and Aeschynanthus. However, their small, white blossoms are not as showy as the blossoms of those other genera.
The etymology of the name comes from the Greek kodon, which means “bell,” and anthe, which means “flower.” The name refers to the bell-shaped (campanulate) form of the blossoms.
Codonanthe is closely related to Nematanthus and Codonanthopsis. They are all within the same clade of Tribe Episcieae in the New World subfamily of gesneriads Gesneriodeae. More recent DNA testing from 2013 revealed that Codonanthe is more closely related to Nematanthus than to Codonanthopsis. Nematanthus and Codonanthe grow in the same geographic area, and they share the same number of chromosomes (2n=16). In comparison, Codonanthe and Codonanthopsis differ in their geographic locations, their number of chromosomes, the shape of their fruit, and the presence of corolla spurs, extrafloral nectaries, and anther connective tissue. Hybridizers have been able to create intergeneric hybrids between Codonanthe and Nematanthus, but there are no known intergeneric hybrids with Codonanthopsis.
Codonanthe grow well in a well-drained soilless mix and under a 2-lamp fluorescent light shelf. Higher humidity levels well over 50% would induce better flowering and fruit production. Codonanthe usually prefers lower temperatures than Codonanthopsis.